William Van Benthuysen


William Van Benthuysen was born in May or June 1760. He was a younger son in the large family of James P. and Sara Cooper Van Benthuysen. He grew up in the home of a first ward woodworker and was named along with his mother, five brothers, and two sisters in the will filed by his father in 1769. The elder Van Benthuysen may have died either shortly thereafter but certainly by 1779 when Widow Sara was named on the assessment roll as the head of the Albany Van Benthuysen clan.

About 1780, He married Margaret Conklin or Cochran. By 1802, the marriage had produced at least eight children - most of them had been christened in the Albany Dutch church. Later records, show that he re-married in 1819 and that his second wife was named Mary.

William Van Benthuysen served in the Revolutionary army as early as 1776. In 1778, was counted among the soldiers of an Albany militia company. He served in a number of militia outfits during the 1770s. Woodworking skills qualified him to be detached from military service to produce tent poles, oars, buildings, and boats. He later stated that he did not serve in the military after his marriage. However, he did say that he was sent to Fishkill in Dutchess County and stayed there for a number of years.

By the end of the decade, he had returned to Albany. In 1790, the Albany census described his household with six members. Two years earlier, his holdings were valued in the first ward near the homes of his mother and brothers. In 1791 and '96, he served in an Albany fire company.

Before 1800, he had relocated to Westchester County. He then moved to New York, back to Albany, and finally settled in Greenbush for the last three decades of his life. In March 1833, he stated that he was too old and frail to attempt to cross the river to Albany.

Living into his seventies, William Van Benthuysen died in January 1845 and was buried in the Greenbush cemetery.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of William Van Benthuysen is CAP biography number 5360. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. He seems to be the only William Van Benthuysen at large in the Albany area during his lifespan.

His Revolutionary War pension affidavit filed in March 1833 stated that he was born in Albany on May 28, 1759 and that he lived in Albany until he was sent to Fishkill in 1780. We will include links to that document in the future.

first posted: 9/15/09